Feb. 11, 1950 – Feb. 1, 2021

Marsha Stevens Bernard Kirkland, 70, of Natchitoches passed away peacefully into the arms of her Lord Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

Her family will receive friends Friday, Feb. 5 from 6-9 p.m. at First United Methodist Church- Crossroads. A service celebrating her life will be Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church- Crossroads, with interment to follow at Fern Park Cemetery.  Funeral Viewing is available via Livestream @  , and services will be under the direction of Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home.

Marsha was a strong Christian woman, a nurturing and loving mother, an adoring and doting grandmother and a beloved and faithful friend. She grew up in Natchitoches and graduated from Northwestern State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Children were her passion and her career. She dedicated the majority of her years as an educator to the Child Development Center at Northwestern State University.

Anyone as committed to inspiring young children and college students as Marsha should get a medal when they are alive, and trumpets are playing when they pass.  In over 30 years in education, she influenced the lives of many families who were lucky enough to know “Mrs. Marsha” and even sometimes lovingly called “Mrs. Benarsha.”  She created lifelong relationships that often lasted far beyond the time in her class. Marsha had a God-given gift for making each child feel loved and appreciated and had that “certain something” when interacting with young children and families.

Marsha was selfless to a fault and completely content behind the scenes.  Her hospitality and humor made you feel welcomed and comfortable. She knew how to brighten someone’s day and make them feel loved and appreciated. Like McGuyver in the kitchen, she found creative ways to make household chores fun and loved a good garage sale!

Marsha was immensely proud and devoted to her family and left a legacy of selflessness and service. She learned well from her mother the fine art of being an awesome Mimi and embraced that role wholeheartedly. As a strong woman of faith, Marsha was an active member of the First United Methodist Church. She enjoyed her connection to her Koinonia Women’s group and Alpha Delta Kappa educational sorority.

We are grateful to know such a kind and selfless soul who embraced optimism, creativity and humor every day. Her influence and sacrifice will be felt for generations.

Marsha is survived by her husband, Leon Kirkland; three daughters, Laurie Richard (Marc) of Colorado Spring, Colo., Leah Bernard (Carl) of Natchitoches and Becky Coffey (Steven) of Castor; the father of her daughters, John Bernard of Natchitoches; sister, Kay Knotts, of Natchitoches, and nephew, Jeff Knotts; 10 grandchildren, Heather, Amber, Megan, Colby, Andrew, Joshua, Anna, Zachary, Nigel and Finnly; 10 great-grandchildren, Savannah, Kayelee, Elijah, Nicholas, Hendrix, Brody, A’drick, Kayden, Emma and Eli; two stepchildren, Jason and Danaca; and eight step-grandchildren, Mallorye, Kailee, Jason, Christian, Shailyn, Jamison, Bentley and Kelsey.

Marsha was a devoted daughter and is preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Melvin and Ruth Stevens.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the NSU Foundation for the “Mrs. Marsha ”
(Marsha Bernard Kirkland), Playground Equipment Fund for the Child Development Center, 535 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA 71497

Pallbearers will be Jeff Knotts, Jason Kirkland, Colby Session, Andrew Bernard, Joshua Coffey, Zachary Coffey, and Nigel Richard.

Honorary pallbearers will be Hendrix, Christian, Jason and Brody.

Marsha’s favorite quote was “A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” ~ Forest Witcraft

Marsha is resting in peace, knowing that she was vital in generations of children’s lives.